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World J Diabetes. Oct 15, 2022; 13(10): 851-860
Published online Oct 15, 2022. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v13.i10.851
Advances in traditional Chinese medicine as adjuvant therapy for diabetic foot
Fa-Shun Liu, Yue Li, Xian-Shan Guo, Rui-Chen Liu, Hong-Ya Zhang, Zhen Li
Fa-Shun Liu, Yue Li, Zhen Li, Department of General Surgery, Yangpu Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200090, China
Xian-Shan Guo, Department of Endocrinology, Xinxiang Central Hospital, Xinxiang 453000, Henan Province, China
Rui-Chen Liu, Binhai College, Nankai University, Tianjin 300450, China
Hong-Ya Zhang, Central Laboratory, Yangpu District Control and Prevention Center, Shanghai 200090, China
Author contributions: Liu FS wrote the paper; Li Y, Guo XS, and Liu RC performed the collected the data; Li Z reviewed the article; all authors have read and approved the final version.
Conflict-of-interest statement: Authors declare no conflict of interests for this article.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Zhen Li, MD, Chief Physician, Surgeon, Department of General Surgery, Yangpu Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, No. 450 Tengyue Road, Yangpu District, Shanghai 200090, China.
Received: June 16, 2022
Peer-review started: June 16, 2022
First decision: July 14, 2022
Revised: July 31, 2022
Accepted: August 26, 2022
Article in press: August 26, 2022
Published online: October 15, 2022

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a complex disease that often causes multiple systemic complications that have become a major international public health problem. Diabetic foot (DF) is one of the severe and frequent chronic complications of DM due to vascular lesions and neuropathy. DF ulcers (DFU) affect approximately 15% of people with DM and are the leading cause of death and disability. The prevalence and recurrence of DF are worrisome, and morbidity and mortality are also on the rise, which poses a substantial socioeconomic burden. Treating DF is difficult for clinicians and requires multidisciplinary cooperation, combining local and systemic therapy to reduce amputation and case-fatality rates. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has received extensive attention due to noticeable therapeutic effects and few adverse reactions. In recent years, research on DF treatment by TCM has been increasing, and further progress has been made. TCM includes oral medication, injectable preparations, and adjuvant therapy. This article reviews the relevant research on TCM-related adjuvant therapy for DF. We describe current progress in TCM in terms of external application, acupuncture, massage, acupoint injection, foot bath, fumigation, and moxibustion, as well as the mechanisms involved.

Keywords: Diabetes Mellitus, Diabetic foot, Foot ulcers, Traditional Chinese medicine, Wound healing

Core Tip: Diabetic foot (DF) is a serious complication of diabetes and has become a major global health problem. Despite the emergence of many new therapies, amputation and mortality rates remain high. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has proved effective for various diseases, and more studies have observed its value of Traditional as adjuvant therapy. We review the role of TCM adjuvant therapy for DF, including external application, acupuncture, moxibustion, massage, acupoint injection, foot bath, and fumigation.